'Bigger Than Jesus'

'The Fool on the Hill', The Beatles, 1967

38 x 63cm, Gouache, Indian Ink and Pencil Crayon on Paper

Available framed from the RSA

'Without a doubt, I’ve got to start with The Beatles as their music was the first pop music to enter Cleavehurst due to my having older siblings… my father only played classical music, which he loved and played most evenings.

Choosing a Beatles song is almost impossible due to the choices, but I have chosen The Fool On The Hill by Paul McCartney – the best song writer in the world. Could have been another but this song is thought provoking with its lyrics, something I could not get out of the classical music that was constantly being played in the house. Just listen to it.' 

My Dad

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It's hard not to grow up with their music in some capacity, but 'The Fool On The Hill' was a Beatles song that I'd never heard before. I immediately said to my Dad that it sounds like a carousel, with a plodding but playful musicality.

But just when we feel like we know where we are, Paul McCartney starts wailing into a rift of 'Round and Round and Round and Round', and the whole thing descends into a kind of madness. Pop music crashed into Cleavehurst, my Dad's childhood home, which was very English in culture, but very Catholic in faith.

So this work is full steam organ glamour, with my Dad on a horse ride through the fracturing middle class home of pre-war values in a post-war world. Flanking the ride are two figures in black outfits with white collars,  each vying for influence over my Dad's childhood.

A baroque-style Paul McCartney figurine conducts the whole procession, making the outcome of jostling feel inevitable. By the end of the decade, there are new idols, and new acts of devotion. The Bible is out, and the Beatles are in. We are steaming ahead and spiralling into a new world.